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Education at OU

New Academic Calendar (Four-term system)

Osaka University will introduce a four-term system on a university-wide basis in April 2017.

Outline of the four-term system:

Under a four-term system, an academic year is divided into 4 terms, with each term consisting of 8 weeks including an exam period. Osaka University will introduce a four-term system to replace the conventional semester system in April 2017.

1. What will change with the introduction of a four-term system

2. What will remain unchanged after the introduction of a four-term system

3. Q&A about the introduction of a four-term system

[Duration and name of each term]

The duration and name of each term under the four-term system to be introduced in April 2017 are as shown below.

  •  Spring term: April 1 to mid-June
  •  Summer term: Mid-June to September 30
  •  Fall term: October 1 to early December
  •  Winter term: Early December to March 31

*Exact dates when the spring and fall terms end and the summer and winter terms start will be decided separately for each academic year.

 

[Categories and names of courses]

Starting from April 2017, Osaka University will offer courses in the following categories:

  • Term courses to be completed in one term
  • Semester courses to be completed in two terms, namely spring and summer terms or fall and winter terms
  • Full-year courses offered from the spring term through to the winter term
  • Other courses offered separately by each department

1. What will change with the introduction of a four-term system

(1) Introduction of term courses

Under the new system, term courses will be introduced, which are to be completed in 8 weeks, half the duration of courses offered under the semester system.

  • One-credit courses meet once a week for 8 weeks (including exams).
  • Two-credit courses meet twice a week for 8 weeks (including exams).

(2) Course registration procedures

Students are required to follow procedures ① to ⑧ shown below for course registration under the new system.

Course registration procedures through the year (sample) 


 

Registration period

Purpose

Details

Late March to mid-April

Registration for courses for the spring and summer terms

 

Registration for term and semester courses to be offered in the spring and summer terms

Registration for full-year courses

Late April

Cancellation of registration for the spring term

Cancellation of registration for term courses to be offered in the spring term

Cancellation of registration for semester courses to be offered in the spring and summer terms

Cancellation of registration for full-year courses

Mid-June

Change of registration for the summer term

Addition/deletion of registration for term courses to be offered in the summer term

*Additional registration is accepted only when there is a vacancy in the class.

Late June

Cancellation of registration for the summer term

Cancellation of registration for term courses to be offered in the summer term

Late September to mid-October

Registration of courses for the fall and winter terms

Registration for term and semester courses to be offered in the fall and winter terms

Mid-October

Cancellation of registration for the fall term

Cancellation of registration for term courses to be offered in the fall term

Cancellation of registration for semester courses to be offered in the fall and winter terms

 

Early December

Change of registration for the winter term

Addition/deletion of registration for term courses to be offered in the winter term

*Additional registration is accepted only when there is a vacancy in the class.

Mid-December

Cancellation of registration for the winter term

Cancellation of registration for term courses to be offered in the winter term

*Periods of course registration, etc. are set separately by each department. For details, contact your department, or inquire at the time of registration with the department offering the course.

*After completion of the courses, credits will be given and your course grades will be announced. After the credits are given, the number of credits you have earned by the end of the relevant term will be recorded in your transcript. Course grades will be announced separately by the department that offered the course. It is the responsibility of the students to check the dates of announcements.

(3) Changes expected to result from the introduction of a four-term system

1) Increase in opportunities for intensive learning

Term courses that meet twice a week enable intensive learning and help students better achieve their learning goals.

2) Greater flexibility in course planning

The new system allows students to register for courses (including course changes) on four occasions instead of two, thus offering a wider range of choices and ensuring greater flexibility in course planning.

3) Increase in opportunities for studying abroad

By properly planning the selection of courses, students can attend summer school abroad or participate in a short-term study abroad program during the period of a term combined with the immediately preceding or ensuing vacation period.

4) Greater convenience for students returning from abroad

By returning from abroad shortly before the end of a term, students can register for courses in the immediately following term and attend classes without a blank period.

5) Greater ease of participating in an internship program or volunteer work

By properly planning the selection of courses, students can participate in a wider range of proactive learning opportunities such as an internship program and volunteer activities during the period of a term combined with the immediately preceding or ensuing vacation period.

2. What will remain unchanged after the introduction of a four-term system

(1) Semester and full-year courses

The semester and full-year courses offered under the conventional semester system will continue to be offered under the four-term system.

  • Semester courses (to be completed in a 6-month period) meet once a week for 16 weeks (including exams).
  • Full-year courses meet once a week for 31 weeks (including exams).

(2) Class period

Class period will remain at 90 minutes.

(3) Payment of tuition fees

The university divides each academic year into the first semester (spring/summer terms) and second semester (fall/winter terms) and requires students to pay the tuition fee per semester.

*Students who are given permission for a leave of absence or voluntary withdrawal by April in the first semester or by October in the second semester are allowed an exemption from payment of the tuition fee in whole or in part for the relevant semester depending on the nature of the permission. However, students who apply for permission for a leave of absence or voluntary withdrawal in or after May in the first semester or in or after November in the second semester are required to pay the full tuition fee for the relevant semester.

(4) Handling of applications for exemption, deferred payment or payment by installments of the tuition fee

As usual, applications are invited and accepted twice a year, for the first semester (spring/summer terms) and the second semester (fall/winter terms).

3. Q&A about the introduction of a four-term systemAs of November 24, 2016

*Q&A will be updated from time to time.

General

01. What is the reason for introducing a four-term system?

Osaka University has been promoting a reform of its educational system to nurture globally minded leaders to better meet the expectations of society. In introducing a four-term system, the university aims to increase the flexibility of its academic calendar with a view to encouraging students to become more self-motivated in their studies while offering a wider range of learning opportunities.
In the 2017 academic year, the university will focus on establishing the framework of the four-term system and ensuring that its staff and students will get used to this new system. The merit brought by introducing the four-term system will become clearly visible with the progress of the reform of curriculum conducted at each school/faculty and graduate school to meet its specific educational needs. Students will also find this system advantageous when pursuing their academic interests on their own or developing their study plans.

02. Are classes also offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays?

In principle, no classes are offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays as usual, except “subjects related to the teaching profession” classes, which are offered on Saturdays as scheduled.* Also, makeup classes and/or intensive courses may be offered on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays by a school/faculty or graduate school if necessary for the sake of its academic calendar. *Subjects offered on Saturdays may vary.

03. Will the university festivals (Icho Festival and Machikane Festival) be held as in the past?

Yes, they will be held as usual.

Course registration

01. How many term courses will be offered?

The number of term courses offered by the university’s schools/faculty and graduate schools in the 2017 academic year is about 180 (as of the end of September 2016).
The exact number of courses will be determined in accordance with the curriculum of each school/faculty and graduate school.

02. Will entirely new subjects be added as term courses?

Term courses may be either entirely new subjects or existing subjects. In the latter case, a 2-credit course to be completed in one semester under the semester system will be divided into two 1-credit courses to be completed in 8 weeks or offered twice a week to be completed in 8 weeks.
If new term courses are introduced, students who have enrolled in or before the 2017 academic year may be required to complete the course conversion process* specified by the relevant school/faculty or graduate school when registering for the courses, as the curriculum offered at the time of enrollment will still apply to them.
*Upon completion of the course conversion process, the registration for a newly introduced subject “A” will be treated as the registration for the subject “a” offered in the current curriculum.

03. In what manner will term courses that are offered twice a week be provided?

Such courses will meet for two consecutive periods in a day or on two designated days of the week (e.g., Monday and Thursday).

04. Can I register for a subject that is available only to students selected by lottery when making registration changes for the summer and/or winter terms?

You cannot register for any of such lottery-based subjects including general education subjects when making registration changes, except when there is a vacancy in the class after the lottery is made.
Some departments may not allow certain subjects to be added when making registration changes. For details, check the information on KOAN or inquire at the educational affairs section at the relevant department.

05. How will the teacher certification program be offered in the 2017 academic year?

“Subjects related to the teaching profession” and “subjects related to the field of specialization or the teaching profession” will be offered as semester courses once a week for 15 weeks in the 2017 academic year, as it has done in and before the 2016 academic year, at the Center for Education in Liberal Arts and Sciences. For details about the “subjects related to the field of specialization” and the “method of teaching” in each field of specialization that is one of the “subjects related to teaching profession,” inquire at the school/faculty that offers the respective subject.

Examinations

01. When will final examinations be conducted?

Final examinations for term courses and semester courses will be conducted at separately designated times. For details about each examination, including the date, contact the instructor in charge of the subject or check the announcements posted on KOAN.

Absence from class

01. I will be on teaching practice for a period of 2 to 3 weeks and unlikely to meet the attendance requirements of some term courses. What should I do?

Instructors are asked to give special consideration to students who will be absent from the class due to teaching or nursing practice upon receipt of an absence report in the prescribed form. Therefore, fill in the form and submit it to your instructor.
It should be noted, however, that even if you are given special consideration, you may have difficulty earning credits depending on the nature of the subject or the number of times you are absent from the class. Students who wish to take the teacher certification program, therefore, are required to meticulously plan for course registration in their early years at the university to satisfy the requirements for teacher certification as well as for graduation.

02. If I am absent from class to participate in an official event as part of an extracurricular activity, am I qualified for special consideration?

No. The university has always placed priority on curricular activities (classes) and your case does not qualify for special consideration.

Study abroad

01. I am planning to study abroad during the summer term. What kinds of financial aid programs are available?

For information about financial aid programs, see the following website:
http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/international/outbound/scholarship/index.html 

02. I am planning to study abroad or participate in an internship program abroad during the summer term. Where can I get the necessary information?

At the Center for International Education and Exchange, a consultation service is offered by academic staff and students who have experienced studying abroad. You can also contact the International Student Affairs Division, your supervisor, or the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school for information.
 
[Relevant websites]
Center for International Education and Exchange
Support Programs for Osaka University Students Studying Abroad
Challenge Yourself!
Guidebook for Studying Abroad for Osaka University Students

03. I am planning to study abroad for a period of 3 months during the summer term without taking a leave of absence. Do I have to go through any procedures at the university? How will credits earned at an overseas university be handled?

The university requires students who are to go abroad to complete certain procedures in advance. For details, contact the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school.
In principle, credits that you earn at an overseas university that is not a party to the student exchange agreement of Osaka University cannot be counted toward the graduation (completion) requirements of Osaka University. In some circumstances, however, your school/faculty or graduate school may allow such credits to be counted toward the graduation requirements. For details, contact the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school or your supervisor.

Leave of absence

01. Will there be any change in the procedures for a leave of absence?

The procedures for a leave of absence remain unchanged. If you have to take a leave of absence for a period of 3 months or longer due to illness or any other unavoidable reason, consult with the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school or the instructor in charge and complete the necessary procedures. Whenever possible, you are recommended to complete these procedures by February if your period of absence falls during a spring term and/or summer term, or by August if the said period falls during a fall term and/or winter term for reasons related to payment of tuition fees.

02. What procedures should I follow to re-enroll in the university upon the expiration of a leave of absence?

The procedures remain unchanged. For details, consult with the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school or the instructor in charge and complete the necessary procedures.

03. What procedures should I follow to re-enroll in the university before the expiration of a leave of absence?

The procedures remain unchanged. For details, consult with the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school or the instructor in charge and complete the necessary procedures.
In this case, you are required to pay the tuition fees from the month in which you re-enroll in the university to the last month of the period of leave of absence scheduled originally.

Graduation and completion

01. If I have repeated a subject in the 4th year of the undergraduate program, and satisfy all graduation requirements by the end of the spring term, can I graduate from the university before September? If I can, how should I pay my tuition fees?

If you have satisfied the graduation (completion) requirements, you can graduate from the university (complete the program) at the end of the relevant term after completing the necessary procedures.
If you graduate from the university (complete the program) at a time other than September or March (i.e. at the end of the spring term or fall term), you are required to pay an amount equal to one-twelfth of the annual tuition fees multiplied by the number of months of your enrollment. For details, consult with the educational affairs section at your school/faculty or graduate school and complete the necessary procedures.

Purchase of textbooks

01. When can I purchase the textbooks for term courses?

Textbooks for term courses are sold when textbooks for semester courses are sold. To be specific, textbooks for spring and summer term courses and those for fall and winter term courses will be sold at the beginning of the spring term and the fall term respectively.

Contacts for inquiries

Inquiries about the four-term system

Education Planning Section, Education Planning Division, Department of Education and Student Affairs

Email address: gakusei-kikaku-kikaku [at] office.osaka-u.ac.jp (Please replace [at] with @ when contacting this address)

Inquiries about course registration and other related procedures

General education subjects: Educational affairs section, Center for Education in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Major subjects: Educational affairs section of each faculty/school or graduate school

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